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Headshots for Kids: Portraits using two Profoto A1 and a ring flash adapter

1/24/2018 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Profoto A1 has become a very welcome addition to my arsenal of light. So far, I have mostly used the two I own together with a Profoto B1 or a B2, on-camera or off-camera.

During Christmas at home, I tried a setup using only my two Profoto A1, and it worked just perfect. At least for close-up headshot portraits, and together with lighting modifiers that fits.

For these portraits, I used a Profoto Deep Umbrella silver Large and a modified copy of the RoundFlash ring flash adapter.

Lighting Setup, model´s view

My idea with this lighting setup was to create something that works in a limited space and with good control over the details in the shadows. Our basement room I used as a temporary studio is quite small, with lower ceiling than a standard office.

Limit the light from bouncing

I often use white bounce umbrellas, many times with a front diffuser. That can be a problem in a small room, so I tried a silver umbrella instead this time as my main light.

One of the fantastic things about Profoto A1 is that I can use really lightweight stands, in this case, two Manfrotto Nano. They might lack a bit in max height, but that doesn´t matter much when you shoot sitting portraits, especially not short kids.

Modified ring flash adapter

My main light camera left was the large silver umbrella, but to avoid too much contrast and uninteresting shadows, I added a ring light.

The ring light was my other Profoto A1, but inside a RoundFlash adapter that I originally modified to work with Profoto B2 earlier.

It worked just as well with a Profoto A1.

Flags for contrast control

As you can see, it is not a large room, but enough for a portrait. The problem I encountered was my main light bouncing off the wall and completely washed out any contrast on the shadow side.

The simple solution was to hang a dark grey coat on the right side of the model (as seen from the camera) to stop the main light from destroying the shadows.

With a 85mm lens, 1/200 second shutter and aperture f/4, this is the result of my two light setup. A light grey wall turned dark grey, and a very soft portrait light.

Moving the main light to be on-axis with the camera, it also worked as light for this quick group shot.

Next time I would like to try with a smaller umbrella. Using the Large version worked well, just because it had the silver inside, but it is a bit too big to use in small spaces.

If you own a Profoto A1, I can recommend a ring flash adapter. RoundFlash is probably the best option for A1, with its soft design. RayFlash and Orbis are made for rectangular speedlights.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

About Stefan Tell:

I am a Portrait Photographer in Stockholm, Sweden. Please visit my portfolio at or contact me if you want to hire me or have any questions.

This article and all the images were originally published on  and shared with his permission

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